Small businesses make up a large percentage of the workforce. In the U.S. alone 48% of the workforce is employed at some type of small business. Several factors go into creating and running a successful small business, however there are certain tools every small business needs in order to ensure market success. One of those tools is an engaging, informative and easy-to-navigate website.
Building a website for your business can be costly and time consuming. Site designers, web hosting companies, and writers who provide engaging content can add up to big money quickly. It is possible to build a great website on a reasonable budget if you utilize the right resources. By following the seven tips below, you can create a website that will help your business shine without breaking your budget.
1. Use a Reliable Website Content Manager
Setting up a website with WordPress will be easier than if you use one of the less-popular and not-so-user-friendly options.. WordPress has cornered the market on website building systems that are beneficial for every business owner; from the seasoned site designer to the business owner who doesn’t know where to start.
Register Your Domain and Find a Host
You’ll need to start by registering your domain (your website address) and luckily, that part is easy thanks to hosting companies that combine domain registration with hosting services. You’ll also need a web hosting company to ensure your site is up and running and has backup storage of your information.
There are many web hosting companies that will allow you to secure your domain address and will host your site as well, but the prices they charge can vary from less than $100 to a few thousand dollars.
As a smart business owner, you’ll want to get the most for your money in this area. iPage is one of our favorite choices for web hosting and domain purchasing because they offer affordable yet powerful service.
When you purchase your web hosting package through iPage, you’ll get your domain for free. The company also provides comprehensive training tools that can walk you through any part of the website building process.
Choosing an affordable web hosting company that has the support you need and a competitive price (they are currently running a hosting special for only $1.99 per month) is really the first step in saving money on your business’ website.
2. Know What Kind of Site You Want
As you build your site using WordPress, you’ll have many options to choose from as you determine the design and functionality of your site. The first step in navigating through your many site design choices is to understand what kind of site you want.
This helps save time when you’re browsing through templates or designs you want to implement.
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It’s important to determine what you want your business website to do and what type of information you’d like it to share with your clients. Will they need to be able to order products and pay for it online? Will the site be strictly informational?
Browse websites of businesses similar to yours to get an idea of what your competitors are doing in terms of website design. Make a list of what you do and don’t want from your site so that you can use your web design budget wisely.
3. Use a Ready-Made Template
Within WordPress you’ll find dozens of site templates that offer a variety of features. Some templates are free, others cost money. Some require you to build upon a base and others can be installed and ready for your finishing touches.
Choosing a ready-made template saves you a lot of time. All you need to do create the copy and swap out some photos. Many templates allow you to also make small adjustments to it, and if you decide you don’t like it later on down the road, you can change it to a different template pretty easily.
4. Take Advantage of Online Learning Venues
While WordPress offers templates that are simple (drag-and-drop), there’s still a learning curve here, especially if you’ve never used it before.
Anticipate the fact that there are things you won’t know how to do, so it’ll save you time and frustration if you check out some online videos (they are mostly screencast videos) that show you how to use the interface and tools.
Make it a point to first understand the basics of building a website (how pages are interlinked, what certain icons mean, etc.), and then play around with it to get a feel for how long various tasks take you.
Google what you don’t understand, and check out free videos from popular YouTube influencers like Amy Lynn Andrews, who helps you navigate WordPress.
5. Use Free Stock Photos
It’s important to the professional appearance of your website that you have quality, professional-grade photos to enhance the credibility of your business.
Many websites charge business owners for the use of professional pictures on their websites, however there are also several free options for stock photo usage as well.
Three common sites that offer stock photos for free are Unsplash, Flickr and Pexels. Using these sites for your website photos – whether it be the page photos or blog article photos – can save you serious money as you enhance the professional appearance of your site.
6. Choose Your Writers Carefully
If you are planning on hiring freelance writers or editors to help your blog posts and other website information represent your business at its best, you’ll have many options to choose from.
Freelance writing fees can vary from tens of dollars per job to hundreds of dollars for the same job. Websites like Upwork or Fiverr are popular choices for finding writers since it’s relatively inexpensive. However, if you need content in the English language, use caution because many freelancers on the site are not native English speakers, and their general command of the English language is different, and it will show in their writing.
Try to choose someone who is U.S.-based, and if it’s just simply out of your budget to choose a U.S. based writer, make sure you ask for writing samples.
Determine your content budget in advance and interview several writers to find the writer(s) that will best portray your message and style to your website visitors, but at an affordable price.
7. Take Advantage of Free Website Graphics Support
There are companies which can help you maximize the professional appearance of your website by offering free graphics design tools. Sites such as Canva and Vectr provide graphic design tools that make it easy for you to build a visually appealing website that will reflect your business’ competence, value and integrity.
Building a website for your business doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars. By doing your research beforehand determining the message you want to your site to portray, and by searching quality resources that are offered at an affordable price, you can create a site that will make your business shine.
Don’t pay more than you need to for web hosting, graphics design, content creation and other necessary website building tools. Start your business off right by building a website that will make the most of your business budget.